Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Motivation plays a critical role in determining IQ test scores

Date:
April 27, 2011
Source:
University of Pennsylvania
Summary:
New psychology research demonstrates a correlation between a test-taker's motivation and performance on an IQ test and, more important, between that performance and a person's future success.

New psychology research at the University of Pennsylvania demonstrates a correlation between a test-taker's motivation and performance on an IQ test and, more important, between that performance and a person's future success.

Related Articles


Angela Lee Duckworth, an assistant professor of psychology in Penn's School of Arts and Sciences, led the research, which involved two related studies.

The first was a meta-analysis of previous research into the effect of incentives on IQ scores. For individuals who had above-average scores at baseline, motivation accounted for only about a quarter of a standard deviation, or about four points. But, for those who had below-average scores, motivation made up almost a whole standard deviation.

The second study involved an experiment in which researchers observed video footage of adolescent boys taking a standard IQ test to rate their motivation and then measured how well they fared in terms of criminal record, job status and educational attainment more than a decade later.

Coders, who were not aware of subjects' IQ scores or the hypothesis of the study, rated each subject's motivation based on a standard rubric of behaviors, such as refusing to answer questions or obviously rushing through the test to make it end as quickly as possible. Ratings of test motivation and IQ scores were about equally predictive of the adult outcomes of years of education, employment status and criminal record.

"What we were really interested in finding out was when you statically control for motivation, what happens to the predictive power of the IQ tests? What we found is that the predictive power goes down significantly," Duckworth said.

Duckworth's research was published April 26 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"When people use IQ tests in social science research, where thousands of kids are taking IQ tests where it doesn't matter to them what they get, what's the effect of motivation on those scores?" Duckworth said.

"IQ scores are absolutely predictive of long-term outcomes. But what our study questions is whether that's entirely because smarter people do better in life than other people or whether part of the predictive power coming from test motivation" Duckworth said.

"Could it be that part of the reason doing well on this test predicts future success is because the kinds of traits that would result in you doing well -- compliance with authority, self-control, attentiveness, competitiveness -- are traits that also help you in life?

"This means that for people who get high IQ scores, they probably try hard and are intelligent," she said. "But for people who get low scores, it can be an absence of either or both of those traits."

The research was conducted by Duckworth; Patrick D. Quinn of the Department of Psychology, University of Texas at Austin; Donald R. Lynam of the Department of Psychological Sciences, Purdue University; and Rolf Loeber and Magda Stouthamer-Loeber of the Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

The research was supported by the National Institute of Mental Health and National Institute on Aging.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Pennsylvania. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. A. L. Duckworth, P. D. Quinn, D. R. Lynam, R. Loeber, M. Stouthamer-Loeber. Role of test motivation in intelligence testing. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2011; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1018601108

Cite This Page:

University of Pennsylvania. "Motivation plays a critical role in determining IQ test scores." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 April 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110427171638.htm>.
University of Pennsylvania. (2011, April 27). Motivation plays a critical role in determining IQ test scores. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110427171638.htm
University of Pennsylvania. "Motivation plays a critical role in determining IQ test scores." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110427171638.htm (accessed October 31, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Friday, October 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Studying Effects of Music on Dementia Patients

Studying Effects of Music on Dementia Patients

AP (Oct. 30, 2014) The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee is studying the popular Music and Memory program to see if music, which helps improve the mood of Alzheimer's patients, can also reduce the use of prescription drugs for those suffering from dementia. (Oct. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Techy Tots Are Forefront of London's Baby Show

Techy Tots Are Forefront of London's Baby Show

AP (Oct. 28, 2014) Moms and Dads get a more hands-on approach to parenting with tech-centric products for raising their little ones. (Oct. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cocoa Could Be As Good For Memory As It Is For A Sweet Tooth

Cocoa Could Be As Good For Memory As It Is For A Sweet Tooth

Newsy (Oct. 27, 2014) Researchers have come up with another reason why dark chocolate is good for your health. A substance in the treat can reportedly help with memory. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Five-Year-Olds Learn Coding as Britain Eyes Digital Future

Five-Year-Olds Learn Coding as Britain Eyes Digital Future

AFP (Oct. 27, 2014) Coding has become compulsory for children as young as five in schools across the UK. Making it the first major world economy to overhaul its IT teaching and put programming at its core. Duration: 02:19 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins